How to Avoid 4 Common Tax Resolution Company Rip-Offs
Choosing a Tax Resolution professional isn’t easy. You’re stressed out, bombarded with confusing claims, getting bad information, and near worthless solutions on a topic that you probably don’t know very much about. After all, that’s why you’re looking for help, isn’t it?
This guide will help you to make an informed decision about who (not) to hire when you need help dealing with the IRS.
Rip-off #1: Overpromising results
If someone GUARANTEES to settle your tax debt for a certain amount through an Offer in Compromise, or promises they can get you a certain monthly payment amount on an installment agreement, that should be a “red flag” to you. This would be just like going to trial and your lawyer telling you they can guarantee which way the jury is going to rule. It’s simply impossible and it’s the same with the IRS. The IRS is the arbiter, the decider, the master of decision making. The IRS has the final word.
A reputable firm will conduct a thorough and complete analysis of your case before they ever agree to take you on as a client. I call it a Case Evaluation. The Case Evaluation helps me to narrow down your options and make a more educated prediction about how the IRS might “decide” your fate. This prediction is based on years of experience and A LOT of case work.
Rip-off #2: Bait and Switch
Beware of firms that quote a price that’s “too good to be true.” Chances are, it probably is. Tax Resolution isn’t cheap. Like any profession, it takes time to develop the knowledge and skill to be great at what you do, and that comes at a cost to the consumer. To keep clients from experiencing sticker shock, some firms will quote an incredibly low fee to get you in the door and then break the news to you that you need more services that will cost more dollars.
Some firms will also bill by the hour and nickel and dime you to death for copies, faxes, time on hold with the IRS, phone calls, postage—the list goes on. You’ll never know what it will cost to fix your problem. You’re already stressed. This is only going to make it worse.
I’ve also seen fee arrangements where the firm bills a set amount every month until the case is resolved. Why would they ever complete your case if they can get paid every month to keep you hanging in the balance?
A reputable firm will let you know at the outset what the total fees are to achieve a permanent resolution. Once I’ve completed the Case Evaluation, I will tell you exactly what it will cost to resolve your case. No nickels, no dimes, and no unknowns.
Rip-off #3: Salesperson vs. Attorney, CPA, or EA
You should always ask the person you’re speaking with during the consultation how many cases they have personally resolved. The answer may surprise you. Only an Attorney, CPA, or EA can represent taxpayers before the IRS. You must have one of these three designations.
If you’ve called an “800” number 15 states away, chances are you’re speaking to a salesperson that makes a commission for selling services they can’t even provide. They’re going to sell you what they need to make their commission and they have no direct bearing on your case. You might be sold a solution that simply isn’t available to you based on your circumstances. I’ve seen this happen more times than I can count.
You want to make sure you are only speaking with a licensed professional who is also a Tax Resolution Specialist regarding your situation and possible remedies. By the way, that CTRS designation after my name stands for Certified Tax Resolution Specialist.
Rip-off #4: Large Up-Front Fees
Beware of firms requiring you to pay the entire amount of the fee up front to represent you. These are generally the large national Tax Resolution firms you hear advertising on the radio and late-night TV. They’re hungry for your money to continue to pay for their expensive advertising without regard for completing your case. It’s like a giant Ponzi scheme.
A reputable Tax Resolution Specialist will usually require a reasonable deposit to start your case and will allow you to pay over time, usually in fixed monthly payments that your budget can handle.
If you’re ready to tackle your IRS problem, head over to the booking page to schedule a consultation appointment with me. If you book a consultation before August 31 using the code RIPOFF, I’ll waive the fee. You have nothing to lose! I look forward to adding peace of mind by taking away your tax trouble.